Disco is dead, and the Harvest Gold 1970s bathroom is finally gone! Over the weekend, we finished our bathroom remodeling project and brought our dated yellow bathroom out of the lawless 70s and into the twenty-first century. Woo hoo!!

Are you considering tackling bathroom remodeling as your next home improvement project? Keep reading to see how we did it ourselves on a budget.

Photo collage - 1970's yellow bathroom remodel transformed into modern, dark blue and grey bathroom

Our Bathroom Remodeling Project – Before

The hall bathroom in our 1970’s ranch-style home was entirely Harvest Gold – tub, toilet, sink, vanity countertop, floor, and wallpaper. The 70’s, man.

By the time we moved in, the wallpaper was gone (I found scraps of it behind the trim), so we just painted the walls and lived with all that yellow.

We’ve been planning on renovating it for a very long time, but never got around to it. Life can get in the way sometimes. We finally decided it was time to tackle the bathroom and a couple of other projects, including replacing the Avocado Green kitchen counters.

Here’s the “Before” picture (check out My 1970’s Bathroom Remodel – Before for more photos and details – including the saloon doors).

Bathroom remodeling - before. Green walls, yellow floor, counter and tub.


We hired a general contractor and had grand plans for a bathroom renovation. You know, the whole “dream bathroom” thing. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. A good contractor can be hard to find and keep.

Since the vanity countertop had already been manufactured, we didn’t want to wait for another contractor to be available, and we had a small window of time when we could function without this bathroom, so we decided to do the work ourselves. We’ve done several DIY home improvement projects in the past, but nothing this big. While it is a small bathroom remodel, it was still a big project for us.

Because we were replacing a very dated bathroom, the main design concept was to create a non-trendy room that did not scream “2018”. We also decided to rein in the budget and try to remodel the bathroom as economically (without being cheap!) as possible.

Finally, because it is a small bathroom and we were only making cosmetic changes, we wanted to put some “wow” into it. With that in mind, we chose a color palette of dark gray, deep blue, and bright white.

Our Bathroom Remodeling Project – After

And, here’s the “After”. What a difference!

Bathroom remodeling project - after. Dark blue walls, dark grey counter and floor, white tub, sink and toilet.

Our Bathroom Remodeling Project – The Details


We decided to start with the ceiling as the first step and work our way down to the floor. The ceiling had a light popcorn texture, a fairly large crack, and a couple of patches from moving ceiling-mounted lights. Initially, we were going to scrape off the popcorn texture but were concerned that the gyp board was in poor condition and the ceiling would look worse.

We decided to fix the crack and try to apply a light knockdown texture over the popcorn, which would hopefully cover everything. We got lucky with the crack; the drywall had fallen off the ceiling framing so a few screws pulled it back into place, and spackle covered up the crack.

I used drywall texture and a nubby roller to put a slight knockdown texture over the popcorn and then painted the ceiling.

Tub & Shower Unit

Dark blue painted walls and white DIY refinished bathtub in remodeled bathroom.

We decided not to tackle the huge task of a new shower surround and tub, instead opting to refinish it. This is an excellent way to save a lot of expense on what is typically a major renovation. While we don’t use the tub all that much and would love a walk-in shower, the budget won out, especially considering how affordable it is to refinish it.

I refinished the fiberglass tub/shower unit using Rust-oleum’s Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit but there are a lot of available bathtub refinishing kits on the market to choose from. It’s been about a month, and it still looks great. We haven’t had any problems with the paint bubbling, chipping, or peeling. It’s a great option for an older home where structurally it is sound, but it just needs a new surfacing. My DIY Bathtub Refinishing post has all the details and some advice. 

The faucet set was relatively new so we kept it.


At the beginning of this bathroom renovation project, we decided to keep the vanity and medicine cabinet. We’ve been told a previous owner built them. They are made of hickory and match the cabinetry in the kitchen and master bathroom.

Hickory cabinet, dark grey quartz counter, blue walls in bathroom remodel

Remodeling a 1970s bathroom - dark blue walls, white door, quartz countertop, and a hickory vanity cabinet and medicine cabinet

Dark grey quartz countertop, white rectangular sink, satin nickel faucets

For the countertop, we chose Vicostone Quartz with a white, rectangular, under mount sink. We went with a simple 4″ tall backsplash made from the same material. The quartz adds an upgraded feel to the bathroom and is a great way to modernize without the expense of new cabinets as well. The faucet is Delta’s Windemere Brushed Nickel. This faucet isn’t available anymore, but Delta has a lot of great options.

Bathroom makeover with satin nickel faucet and dark grey quartz countertop


Remodeled bathroom with new low flush toilet

I took Kim’s recommendation and bought an American Standard Titan Elongated Toilet. So far, it’s living up to its reputation, and I’m impressed with its flushing ability. Plus you can’t go wrong with something named Titan.


Dark grey luxury vinyl tile, white woodwork and dark blue walls in a bathroom remodel

Rather than trying to DIY a ceramic tile floor, we choose a luxury vinyl tile for the flooring. It has the look of tile but is much faster and easier to install than tile work. We had Armstrong Alterna Luxury Vinyl Tile – Enchanted Forest “Night Owl”  in 12″x24″ installed, and chose to not have grout lines. Vinyl flooring is maintenance-free, whereas traditional tile can often be challenging to keep grout clean.


White wood trim around mirror, with a dark grey quartz countertop and dark blue walls complete this bathroom makeover.

We kept the original mirror but removed the cheaply-made frame. They had used “Gibson Brown” door casing trim, and it was so ugly. It was very satisfying to yank that off the wall!

I liked Full of Great Ideas’ mirror frame, so that was our starting point. We tweaked their design to fit the scale and space of our wall. It was the perfect solution to re-purpose the mirror and save money as well.

Here’s how we did it – DIY Bathroom Mirror Frame Project.


Dark grey luxury vinyl tile, white baseboard and dark blue painted walls.

The original baseboards in the house were only 2.5″ tall, and dark brown. Years ago, we painted it white, but that was starting to chip off, and we wanted something with more character. Replacing it with 5.25″ tall Alexandria MDF molding from Home Depot is such an improvement.

I had some Rust-oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint, so I painted the old floor register to go with the new flooring. (I’ve pretty much-painted everything in this room!)


We chose this color scheme because we wanted some “drama”. The contrast of deep, rich-colored walls with bright white trim provides that drama. The walls are painted with Sherwin-Williams Down Pour (SW 6516), in a satin finish, while all the trim is Behr Alkyd White Semi-Gloss Enamel. I’ve never worked with alkyd paint; it takes getting used to, but I love the finished product.


We did not change the lighting fixtures during this bathroom remodeling project. That’s not to say I’m happy with the lighting, but I couldn’t find anything that would work. The light is ceiling-mounted, and the hole is fairly close to the back wall.

I could not find a ceiling-mounted light that would fit, and that was approved for use in a bathroom. After searching for weeks, we decided to just keep the one we had. Maybe one day we will come back and re-address new light fixtures.

Bathroom remodel after photo of dark blue walls, white trim, dark grey quartz countertop

We did most of the work ourselves, except for the flooring and toilet installation. The entire process took about two months to complete, but we were pretty inconsistent in working on it daily. For the most part, we were able to continue to use the bathroom during the remodel, so there wasn’t really a need to rush.

Although we had to switch directions with our design, and didn’t get our “dream bathroom”, this bathroom remodeling project is done and it is definitely a better bathroom than it was before. The final product feels like a whole new bathroom.

Have you tackled a bathroom remodeling project? Did it turn out to be the bathroom of your dreams? Let us know, we’d love to hear about it!


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  1. I think you accomplished your goals. I love the rich blue color. Great job.

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